Bid Farewell To Summer 2023 With These Supersized Pasta Pool Floats

Summertime means there is excitement in the air, pina coladas in our hands, and of course beads of sweat on our foreheads.  But, unfortunately, summer 2023 is coming to an end! As we gear up for fall, it is only fair that we pay tribute to the excellent summer we had with a few super cool products such as the Pool Pasta collection. The quirky collection is something you definitely would love to get your hands on to prepare for summer next year.

Designer: Jumbo x The Standard Hotel

The Standard Hotel teamed up with NYC design studio Jumbo to create the adorable Pool Pasta collection which is basically a range of pasta-shaped inflatable pool floats! Inspired by Italian cuisine and the various types of pastas, these pool noodles provide pool lovers with a playful and amusing experience. The collection includes large macaroni, farfalle, rigatoni, lasagna, tortellini, ravioli, and shells. Pick the pasta float of your choice, and float around as if you’re in a massive pot of water.

The collection of giant pastas was launched in December 2022 at Art Basel Miami. The floats were designed to add some whimsical fun to the iconic pool at the Standard Miami. The pool floats perfectly replicate the type of pasta they are mimicking, and in fact, they feature an Emoji-like essence, that makes them even more animated and quirky. The pasta shapes have a personality and identity of their own! They’re all a standard pasta yellow, and we do wonder if wouldn’t it have been more fun if the pastas were made in various color options. Imagine the Standard Miami pool scattered with myriad pasta shapes in pink, blue, orange, magenta, or even purple!

These supersized pasta shapes will have more installations in Ibiza, Hua Hin, Bangkok, and the Maldives. But if you’re in the mood to relax and unwind on a massive tortellini, and or catch a nap on a ginormous macaroni in your pool, then you can check out the Pool Pasta collection online, and grab a few for yourself! Pick the pasta shape that perfectly defines you and your pasta preferences and adorn your yard pool with them!

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Palm A chair by Jean-Michel Wilmotte for Parla

Palm A chair by Jean-Michel Wilmotte for Parla Design

Dezeen Showroom: designed by French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte for Parla, the Palm A chair is created to be used both inside and outdoors.

Part of the Palm collection, the Palm A chair has a powder-coated metal tube structure set at angles, which is intended to create a silhouette both archetypal and compelling.

Palm A chair by Jean-Michel Wilmotte for Parla Design
The Palm A chair is designed to be used indoors or out

The collection is offered in both indoor and outdoor versions, with optional leather arm-wraps or solid Iroko wood armrests for the indoor version and a removable upholstered, water-resistant seat and back cushions for the outdoor version.

Perfect as part of a garden dining set, the Palm A chair has a powder-coated textured finish and is available in colours including White, Black, Green Olive, Deep Blue, Bordeaux and Carbon Grey.

Palm A chair by Jean-Michel Wilmotte for Parla Design
The metal frame structure is meant to be both classic and compelling

It is made utilising the metalworking expertise of Parla Design and reveals delicate welding and joinery when observed in close-up.

The Palm collection is designed to marry heritage, craftsmanship and technology, and includes seating and tables.

Product: Palm A
Designer: Jean-Michel Wilmotte
Brand: Parla

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Futuristic Excellence: Red Dot Awards ‘Best of Best’ to Design Concepts that Transform Humanity

The foundation of innovation lies in how we conceptualize the future… and our capacity to enhance and develop these concepts is crucial for this future. This is why concepts have always fascinated us at Yanko Design. They are the foundation of our work, providing a glimpse into the future of products, technologies, and experiences. It’s also one fundamental thing we have in common with the Red Dot Award: Design Concept, as they celebrate the power of conceptualization.

The Best of Best category of this year’s Red Dot Award: Design Concept showcases some truly exciting concepts. From cutting-edge technology in consumer electronics to innovative designs in the health sector, these concepts demonstrate inventiveness and creativity that deserve recognition. We are particularly drawn to designs that enhance user experiences and environments, as they exemplify the intersection of art and functionality.

The Red Dot Award: Design Concept “Best of Best” is our annual source of inspiration, showcasing designs that embody creativity, collaboration, and impeccable execution. We are thrilled to share a few of our favorites from this year’s selection. And don’t forget to scroll down to discover the winner of the prestigious Luminary Award. You saw it here first!

Click here to view more Award-winning designs from the Red Dot Award: Design Concept

Time to Snow by Baek Sunwoo, Kim Myeongseong & Prof. Lee Woohun

Time to Snow is an interactive installation that displays the time using Styrofoam grains resembling snow. The clock defies the laws of physics with how it causes the particles to form numbers within the clock’s face, while also simulating the effect of snowfall and snow blowing through the breeze. The result isn’t just form and function, it’s emotion too, in the form of awe and curiosity as viewers are captivated by the effects of this faux snow and its ability to tell time. A camera on top also allows people to interact with the snow through gestures, creating an experience so fun you’ll never want to look at another boring clock again!

UFO Intelligent Rotary Stove by Liang Wengan, Li Zhaoping, Wu Qiting, Wu Shengjia & Zhou Jinhui

Who among us hasn’t dreaded cleaning up a stovetop after the pasta water or a saucepan of milk boiled over while cooking?! The UFO Intelligent Rotary Stove features an elevated, rotatable burner that offers an easy stovetop cleaning solution and extra countertop space when not in use. Gas stoves, while essential for cooking, can be tricky to clean given their shape (and sometimes how hot they are after usage). The UFO Intelligent Rotary Stove simplifies cleaning by putting the burners on a rotating arm so they can be moved away whenever needed, making cooking more enjoyable and maximizing kitchen space. The stove also offers precise fire intensity adjustment with an 8-level touch control for better cooking results.

Kid’s Service Design Toolkit For Saving The Earth by Choi Seolyung, Hyun Eunryung, Mun Juyeong

The Kid’s Service Design Toolkit for Saving the Earth helps children understand carbon emissions and develop their solutions using the Double Diamond process. It fosters environmental awareness and encourages creative thinking. The toolkit guides kids through learning phases, including the Carbon Footprint Game, customer journey maps, and idea generation. It promotes cooperation, communication, and concrete action plans to address real-world environmental issues, contributing to climate action for sustainable living.

Tetrix Roof Tiles From Recycled Composite by Adam Friedrich & Kajetan Topolewski

Crafted from recycled plastic composite, the Tetrix Roof Tiles, offer sustainable, lightweight, and durable roofing. They’re frost-proof, waterproof, UV-resistant, and ideal for photovoltaic systems aka solar panels. The tiles come in a series of modular units and are available across a variety of design styles, allowing you to customize your roof design. They’re made to replace hazardous asbestos roofs, and are an absolute breeze to install thanks to their modular design that lets you simply plug tiles together. Produced with recycled plastic and quartz sand, the tiles are eco-friendly and are virtually unbreakable too.

O-Vision Noice Cancellation Sleep Mask by Chen Shaolong, Chen Fengming, Chen Weihao, Luo Qimei, Yang Junlong & Zheng Xiangjing

The O-Vision Noise Cancellation Sleep Mask offers 3D noise reduction and total light blockage for peaceful, high-quality sleep. Its innovative design combines 3D noise cancellation technology with a pressure-free, light-blocking eye mask. Breathable materials ensure comfort, while advanced noise-isolation earplugs create a quiet sleep environment. The earplugs are easily replaceable and come in a convenient silicone package, making this a portable and comprehensive sleep solution.

Ingo – Reusable CGM & Insulin Pump by Chris Kilbane & Maxwell Stevens

Ingo is an innovative, sustainable CGM and insulin pump that combines both functions in a compact design, eliminating the need for separate devices and tubing. It offers wireless charging and on-body insulin pump refilling for user convenience. Ingo features recyclable sensor patches, promoting cost savings and sustainability. The companion app provides real-time feedback, battery monitoring, and customization options for a personal touch.

Geneverse SolarGenerator S1 by Bai Wei, He Jiajin & Yin Xiaowei

The Geneverse SolarGenerator S1 is a customizable modular photovoltaic sunshade with 200w double-sided solar modules. It cools spaces, generates electricity, and stores it in your home energy system. These modules continuously convert clean energy, reducing household expenses. It features a self-circulating lighting system and a sturdy, foldable design for easy transportation and installation.

INO200 Intraoral Scanner User System by Zhao Yachong, Song Weiwei, Su Zhendong, Sun Jia, Wang Gege & Zhao Yachong

The INO200 Intraoral Scanner User System streamlines dental digitization for dentists and patients. Using advanced 3D technology and multifunctional software, it delivers real-time, cost-effective, and accurate impressions. Designed for ease of use, it accommodates different patients, sterilizes easily, and offers intuitive controls. The tiny handheld scanner packs AI technology and cloud integration, helping improve accuracy/efficiency, and enabling real-time tracking and convenience for both doctors as well as patients.

Grass by Lin Chih-Hong Chan Chi-Yin, Huang Yu-Ming, Jian Ling-Chien & Luo Jia-Wei

Dubbed ‘Grass’, this awe-striking light installation uses real-time traffic data to capture the city’s vitality, reflecting the dynamic interaction between cities and people. It offers a unique perspective on urban expansion, breaking away from traditional light and shadow art. Each individual cell varies in size, undulation, and pattern, and depicts major traffic routes in the same way that buildings and roads do in cities. The cells glow bright or dim depending on the activity/area they represent, creating a unique expression of a city that looks at urban planning and life through the eyes of artists.

Lunet by David Edquilang (Luminary Winner)

A winner of this year’s Luminary Award, Lunet is an affordable, 3D-printed mechanical finger prosthesis designed to restore finger functionality for amputees worldwide. Produced through 3D printing, it’s customizable in style (CMF) and anatomical fit, thanks to parametric modeling and a modular design that allows for micro-adjustments based on ergonomics. Lunet’s snap-together, metal-free assembly features a robust linkage mechanism mimicking real finger motion. With 3D printing’s accessibility, Lunet offers a cost-effective solution, priced at less than 1% of commercial alternatives.

Click here to view more Award-winning designs from the Red Dot Award: Design Concept

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Shrek and Donkey invite guests to stay in mud-laden Shrek's Swamp

View of Shrek's Swamp home by Airbnb

Rental website Airbnb has designed Shrek’s Swamp, a grass-and-mud-covered hut underneath a tree in the Scottish Highlands.

The small house, which has a bare-earth floor, is described as “a stumpy, secluded haven fit for a solitude-seeking ogre”.

Exterior of Shrek's Swamp house
The holiday home is located underneath a tree trunk

It is being hosted by Donkey, Shrek’s best friend, who is swamp-sitting while Shrek himself is away for Halloween, according to an Airbnb description written as if by Donkey himself.

In it, he says: “I love everything about the swamp: the boulder out front, the modest interiors, the seclusion (ideal for singing karaoke late into the night), you get the picture”.

Shrek's Swamp Airbnb interior
It features rough-hewn wooden furniture

The holiday home, which sleeps up to three guests, has an open-plan design, with a sturdy wooden bed leaning against one wall.

A matching table and two wooden chairs sit in front of an open fire on the opposite side of the house, which is held up by large tree trunks.

Fish light in Shrek house
A fish-shaped lamp decorates the bedside table

Shrek’s Swamp Airbnb also features decorative touches, including a green “earwax candle” – a nod to a scene in which Shrek pulls out a stick of earwax from his ear and lights it.

It also has a bedside lamp that looks like a stuffed pufferfish.

Table in Shrek's home
The dining table sits in front of an open fire

Visitors can also make use of Shrek’s outhouse, a well-known location from multiple Shrek films, which is located about 20 metres away from the swamp itself.

Located in a forest in the Scottish Highlands, the hut is surrounded by signs reading “Stay out”, “Beware Ogre” and “Danger!” though these are “probably for decoration”, according to Donkey.

The home will be available to book from 13 October for a two-night stay between 27 and 29 October and comes with an on-site concierge who will arrange meals for the guests – including morning waffles and parfaits.

“This mud-laden, moss-covered, murky-watered oasis is a perfectly snug spot to escape from village life and embrace the beauty of nature,” Airbnb said.

Interior of Shrek's Swamp Airbnb
The home has a bare-earth floor

The company will make a one-time donation to the HopScotch Children’s Charity as part of the project.

Airbnb also recently helped Ken rent out Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse and listed a 1970s wood cabin located in the iconic Sea Ranch development in California.

The photography is courtesy of Alix McIntosh.

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Peep into the interior of ‘This Is It’ – the largest to be motor catamaran for charter

The Italian Sea Group (TISG) left the maritime world in awe when it released the first look of its intriguing catamaran. Now the vessel maker has launched the first look at the magnificent interiors of “This Is It.” Crafted under Tecnomar brand, this 43.5-meter motor catamaran is poised to make its grand debut at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show.

‘This Is It’ boasts an exterior that seems to have sprung from the depths of a fantasy realm, evoking the graceful forms of mythical sea creatures. Its hull has been engineered meticulously to enhance hydrodynamic efficiency, which should result in reduced fuel consumption, a benefit every vessel maker strives for on the water.

Design: TISG

The catamaran’s exterior is mostly glass, which according to the makers measures about 600 square meters. The expansive view out of the window not only adds to the aesthetic appeal, but also sheds weight on the vessel’s construction, adding to the fuel efficiency.

If you’re not satisfied with the mere green aspect and crave speed and adventure on the open waters, ‘This Is It’ won’t disappoint. With a maximum speed of 19 knots, the motor catamaran promises to offer exhilarating voyages. However, if sustainability and milage have more impact on your buying decision; the catamaran can leisurely cruise at 10 knots to an astounding range of 3,500 nautical miles.

‘This Is It’ is designed for 12 people and boast cabins that are well lit with natural light penetrating through the skylight. The cabins are attached to a terrace, while the two on-board decks have vertical gardens for green appeal. The main lounge has floor-to-ceiling doors and connects to a multifunctional exterior area comprising a dining area, bar, game area, and swimming pool. On the upper deck is the rejuvenation area with a sauna, a sensorial shower and a playroom just adjacent to it.

Starting in April 2024, ‘This Is It’ will be ready to welcome guests as the largest motor catamaran available for charter. Environmental consciousness is at the forefront of its design and it should be a capable ride to embark on luxurious journeys to the world’s most stunning destinations.

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The Insightful Beauty of Colin King’s “Arranging Things”

The interior stylist shares thoughts on his debut book with Rizzoli


The Insightful Beauty of Colin King’s “Arranging Things”

The interior stylist shares thoughts on his debut book with Rizzoli

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Courtesy of Adrian Gaut

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Oftentimes, the aesthetic influence of one object is only fully realized when it’s placed in dialogue with something else—whether that’s a series of complementary pieces or the atmospheric framing of empty space. An inspiring guide to accessing the beauty of the objects we display at home, Arranging Things is the debut book from acclaimed interior stylish Colin King. Written with Sam Cochran, the global features director of Architectural Digest, the recent Rizzoli release pairs artful visual references with intuitive insight culled from personal experience. Throughout, King provides compelling counsel—and makes clear that as one elevates their space through the arrangement of vignettes, they explore their relationship with every object therein.

Courtesy of Rizzoli

When you set out to create Arranging Things, what did you hope to offer readers?

My goal was really to demystify styling and to help people look at their home with fresh eyes and create a space for beauty by arranging the things that they love in unexpected ways. It’s about offering a fresh perspective on things. It’s also about sharing the joy I feel in the daily practice of arranging things. It’s not about buying new stuff. It’s about creating compositions and vignettes that change your relationships to the objects already around you.

What was your process like for brining this book together?

I thought it was going to be very intuitive. I don’t want to say “easy,” but I thought it would be a version of what I do for a living. It ended up being quite the process so I brought my dream team together. I sometimes have trouble differentiating the true from the false with my own work. It’s hard to see the work from an outside perspective because I am so in it.

I reached out to Sam. I love the way he can pull out exactly what you want to hear. I asked him to help me write the book that he would want to read and he did that. We were able to put vocabulary to a process that felt so intuitive to me. I brought on Javas Lehn, who is an incredible graphic designer and creative director. He had done the Kate by Mario Sorrenti book that sits on my coffee table. I love it—the font, the sensibility. I knew if I were ever to do a book, I would do it with him. All of my work is so collaborative. I find that if I can hire up and bring people around that I want to learn from, I get the best results. That’s what I did.

Courtesy of Rich Stapleton

You touch upon it in chapter five, but I’d like to begin with your use of light. You embrace natural light and the application of shadow.

It came from asking myself what I like about certain images. I would experience paintings, like those from Dutch masters, and I would ask myself “what is it that I am drawn to in these images?” It would always be the light. Even in non-photographic form, it was about how the artist captured light. It’s the first thing that I notice when I walk into a room, as well.

It corresponds to my dance background. As a dancer, we were never front lit, we were always side lit. We were always going in and out of the wings. When you are lighting multidimensional spaces, you always light from sides so that you can see the layering. With dance, there was this natural understanding of how light works and how it lends dimension and texture. I brought that with me into this field, as I transitioned from dancer to interior stylists. The best work captures a feeling. It’s an emotion. It evokes a mood. There’s a stillness, as well as a power that I try to achieve.

Courtesy of Adrian Gaut

Do you feel that the aesthetic of the book is a reflection of your aesthetic as a stylist?

I feel like it’s a moment in time. As a creative, I’m always pushing forward. I am always asking myself new questions and checking in on my intentions. I hope to always be evolving. I never want to be still. This book is a great representation of how my career started—but I hope it is the first of many books.

I don’t want to give the book’s secrets away, but you nod to the fact that styling should be a daily practice. Can you speak to me about what this means to you?

I don’t realize I am doing it. I have an intuitive need to change things, to move my surroundings. I go into a room and it’s almost a track that I fall into, something that’s guiding me. I realized this most when I was home alone in Brooklyn, during quarantine, as a single person. I made this promise to myself, that I would creative a still life every day. That was my job when I didn’t have much else to do. It became a meditative practice. It empowered me to see things in new ways. I was abandoning the intended use of objects: a pear became a sculpture, a vase because a pitcher. Objects became paint.

Courtesy of Adrian Gaut

You encourage people to accept constraints and utilize the power of emptiness. What would you say to a person who is a big collector?

I love collections. I went to Jack Winter Larson’s Long House in East Hampton. He was such a collector. The thing I will tell you about his collection is that it is all in incredible arrangements. Arranging things is not limited to one or two objects—or what I like to do with my own work. I want to encourage trial and error. Get in there and move your things around, even if your environment is maximalist.

Of course, there’s power in peeling away noise so that an object can be felt. As powerful as an object, is the space created around it; it almost makes a frame from the atmosphere. But for avid collectors, it’s about experiencing their objects in different ways.

In Arranging Things, you also speak about objects in dialogue with one another. Do you think people should take risks here?

I am such an advocate for just buying things you like. You don’t have to explain yourself. There should be no hierarchy to design. I collect rocks all the time and place them right next to a beautiful Japanese vase. I think there’s something interesting about forging relationships with all of these objects. One might lift one up, the other might balance both out. There’s a dialogue that can be created without having too much pretension around it.

Courtesy of William Jess Laird

What do you think your book cover conveys about what’s inside?

There’s a jacket which shows my home, which is my greatest teacher. I basically took all my learnings from years of styling and experiencing other peoples work in my space, all through trial and error. For the cover, I didn’t want to make any clients favored or feel less than others so it made sense to use my own place.

On the interior, there’s a small moment of objects that I made with Menu Space that just kind of shows a very simple arrangement. People can see that it’s step by step, small moment by small moment, that makes a home. It doesn’t need to be something grand.

Courtesy of Stephen Kent Johnson

Before Arranging Things, we had the opportunity to see your rug collaboration with Beni at Alcova during Milan Design Week. What drew you to Beni Rugs as a collaborator?

I admire them. They saw a niche in the industry in Marrakesh. It came from this very simple task where they were trying to select a Moroccan rug for their home but they couldn’t find the right size or color or design. They began to wonder “how do we keep this ancient craft but find people who can make rugs in the size and shape that we need, in the colors that we want.” This is what started it for them.

They are raising up their weavers, these talented women, paying them double the national average and giving them access to benefits, healthcare, childcare and transportation. They came to me and said “what would a rug collection look like if you designed it?” and I said “this” and gave them a series of designs. I saw something in them that I see in myself, this insatiable desire to create.

Goldfinger launches ash furniture that lets people "own a piece of Tate Modern"

Wooden dining table, benches and stools by Goldfinger and the Tate Modern

Social enterprise Goldfinger has launched its bespoke Tate Modern furniture collection made from fallen trees at London Design Festival.

Displayed at the Material Matters design fair, the furniture was originally designed in collaboration with architecture studio Holland Harvey and the Tate Modern as custom pieces for the gallery’s Corner cafe.

It includes a dining table, bench and stool made from fallen ash trees, chosen by Goldfinger to make use of timber that would otherwise be destroyed while celebrating the beauty of native British wood.

Wooden dining table, benches and stools by Goldfinger and the Tate Modern
The furniture was originally designed as bespoke pieces for the Tate Modern Corner cafe

“In collaborating with Holland Harvey and Tate Modern, I think we all saw the wide appeal of the sleek and bold design, the ash rescue story, as well as being able to own a piece of Tate Modern,” Goldfinger associate Lisa Werner told Dezeen.

“This is Tate’s first foray into furniture and celebrating their commitment to sustainably-minded partners at the outset is really impactful for the commercial market.”

The furniture has chunky square legs with rounded corners, intending to reference the Tate Modern building and Trellick Tower, where the Goldfinger workshop is located.

Natural and black wooden dining table, benches and stools
Presented at London Design Festival, the collection is now available for sale

Available in natural and black ash finishes, each piece of furniture features an engraving of the coordinates of where the tree used to make it once stood.

“We love to incorporate this storytelling of the tree’s journey,” said Werner.

“It is a Goldfinger signature detail to stamp the GPS coordinates of where the tree once stood into each piece, providing a sense of memory and honour for the tree’s first life.”

Black wooden dining table, benches and stools
Goldfinger used timber from fallen ash trees to make the furniture

For the Tate Modern collection, ash wood was sourced from timber company Fallen and Felled, which rescues trees that have fallen due to disease, weather-related reasons or urban development.

According to Goldfinger, 5,000 trees in London are felled annually, most of which are chipped and burned. The studio aims to save the fallen trees from being destroyed by making them into furniture.

“This not only saves the tree from being chipped or burned for biofuel, it sequesters carbon and removes the need to cut down forests,” said Werner.

“Over 90 per cent of Britain’s hardwood is imported, we’re on a mission to reverse that trend and promote the raw materials we have right on our doorstep.”

“The UK is the second largest importer of wood behind China,” added Leslie Feeney, Goldfinger head of impact and partnerships. “There is a lack of knowledge of the wood available to us in the UK.”

Natural wooden dining table and black bench by Goldfinger and the Tate Modern
It comes in natural or black finishes

Alongside Goldfinger’s commitment to making furniture from fallen trees and reclaimed wood, which co-founder Marie Cudennec Carlisle spoke with Dezeen about in an interview, the studio is also a social enterprise that organises woodworking workshops and hosts free meals for the local community.

The Goldfinger Academy gives training and career opportunities to local residents and those who are out of education and employment, while the Future Makers programme offers students insight into the industry and portfolio development.

In 2015, Goldfinger launched the People’s Kitchen initiative, which offers monthly free meals for the local North Kensington community.

Black wooden stool by Goldfinger and the Tate Modern
The pieces have chunky square legs with rounded corners

Elsewhere at London Design Festival, designer Giles Nartey presented a large bench with a carved surface used as a game board and architect Daisuke Motogi reimagined Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60 into one hundred different iterations.

The furniture is on show at Material Matters from 20 to 23 September 2023 as part of London Design Festival. See our London Design Festival 2023 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.

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WillemsenU submerges house under the ground in the Netherlands

The House Under The Ground by WillemsenU with a grassy rooftop

Dutch studio WillemsenU has completed a house that is partially buried underground to blend in with its rural surroundings in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

Appropriately called The House Under the Ground, the home is designed by WillemsenU to “enhance the beauty” of its site and act as a retreat for the couple who own it.

The House Under The Ground by WillemsenU with a grassy rooftop
WillemsenU has created The House Under the Ground

Its design also offers privacy to its occupants, with the sleeping spaces lowered six metres into the ground and the protruding living spaces blanketed with a hill covered in wildflowers.

“The surrounding bocage landscape with its small height differences was a huge inspiration,” project architect Marrit Winkeler told Dezeen.

Grassy lawn growing over The House Under The Ground by WillemsenU
It is designed to blend in with its rural surroundings

“The house is designed as part of this landscape, being part of a hill,” added Winkeler. “It is playing with visibility, alternately shielding and opening the view of the nature reserve, creating privacy and shelter from the elements.”

Located in a meadow on the edge of a protected nature reserve, The House Under the Ground fits within the parameters of a former goat shed.

Entrance into a home through a grassy mound by WillemsenU
A weathering-steel corridor cuts into the slope

The part of the house that is visible above ground is defined by its arched shape, which is designed to limit the building’s height and merge with the landscape.

Its structure is built from concrete cast in situ, while the facades that are left exposed are clad in vertical timber boards.

The House Under The Ground by WillemsenU with a grassy roof and sunken patio
Timber boards cover the home’s external facades

“The use of wood is inspired by the vernacular materials used for sheds and barns in this area, and is used internally and externally,” Winkeler explained.

“By using different patterns of wooden slats in the facade, [the design] very subtly references the old goat shed that used to be on the plot.”

On approaching the house from the field’s edge, a path bordered by wildflowers leads to a Corten steel-clad corridor that cuts into the hillside.

Here, a large pivot door opens into an expansive dining room and kitchen that offers generous views over the valley beyond. The arch of the curved roof directs the eye to a void that goes down to the basement.

Living room interior with floor-to-ceiling glass doors leading to an outdoor patio
The living room opens onto a terrace

The House Under the Ground is arranged around this central void, which houses a glass platform lift. This brings light to the rooms below the ground while ensuring the home is wheelchair-friendly in the future.

“The curved roof opens up above the stairs and the lift, so that the light penetrates deep into the home to offer stunning sky views framed by the hill’s vegetation,” said Winkeler.

A boxy concrete kitchen with a wall opening leading to an outdoor garden
The dining and kitchen areas have views of the surrounding landscape

The underground level has a living room that opens onto a terrace bordered by wildflowers, while the floor below contains the main bedroom.

Internally, the concrete structure forms smooth walls, floors and ceilings. Light and translucent materials are used to allow daylight to penetrate the lowest floor.

Concrete dining area with floor-to-ceiling glass doors leading to a patio
The House Under the Ground’s concrete structure is exposed internally

WillemsenU’s partial placement of the home underground helps it to achieve a high energy performance, with heat extracted from the earth by a heat pump to warm internal spaces.

Burying the house also increases its thermal mass and creates a consistent internal environment that is cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Bedroom with concrete walls and a narrow skylight
Bedrooms are submerged six metres underground

WillemsenU is a Dutch architecture studio founded by Frank Willems in 1989. The House Under the Ground has been longlisted in the rural house category of this year’s Dezeen Awards.

Elsewhere in the Netherlands, Francois Verhoeven Architects recently used interlocking blocks finished with contrasting timber and plaster for Villa K340 and Chris Collaris Architects created a home formed of lime-washed bricks crowned with an oversized roof.

The photography is by Rob van Esch and Stijn Poelstra.

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"I'm filled with dread" over climate change says Liam Young

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview

Future-gazing architect and filmmaker Liam Young explains why he believes humans will fail to avert climate catastrophe in this interview with Dezeen.

Young spoke to Dezeen ahead of his Planetary Redesign exhibition, currently on display at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).

This features his latest film, The Great Endeavour, which proposes a radical solution to the climate crisis. The film depicts an alternative future where humankind unites to cut carbon emissions by building massive-scale wind farms in the ocean and solar farms in the desert.

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
Above: Planetary Redesign shows how humankind can tackle climate change. Photo by Sean Fennessy. Top image: Liam Young is showing it at NVG in Australia. Photo by Tim Carrafa

To achieve this, the film imagines a mobilisation of workers and resources on a planetary scale, which Young believes is needed to “not go extinct”.

“The Great Endeavour envisions the scale of global collaboration that’s necessary,” LA-based Young told Dezeen.

“The structure is so complex and expensive that no single nation would be able to afford them or conceive them, but if we make a decision not to go extinct we need to start building these machines.”

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
The Great Endeavour depicted infrastructure powered by renewable energy

Young’s overarching point is that conventional approaches to sustainability fall far short of the level of action required to deal with climate change.

“All our visions about the future that come from popular culture and designers and architects are continuations of environmental ideals that began in the 1960s and ’70s,” he said.

“Architects putting trees on roofs, a community garden in Brooklyn growing tomatoes, recycling windows, trying to make vegan diets sexy as opposed to meat diet — all those things are valuable and important, but they no longer work at a scale of change that we need, which is systemic and planetary.”

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
Young argues that the structure is so complex that it require nations working together

The barriers to making the necessary shift, he argues, are “no longer a technology problem, but a cultural and political problem”.

“All the technology we need is already here,” he explained. “If we wanted to, we can change tomorrow. In those terms, I’m incredibly optimistic and hopeful about the future.”

“But do I think we are actually going to change and do this? No, I don’t,” he added.

“The more I dig into this research through these projects, the more I’m filled with dread where I see not only are we not limiting and scaling back, but instead we are increasing fossil-fuel production — we are doing the opposite.”

Our current political systems, he says, are not capable of delivering the degree of change required at sufficient speed.

“What we are seeing is what we think of as democratic nations around the world completely failing in their responsibilities of doing anything in relation to climate change,” he said.

“In the US, where I’m based, they can’t even agree that climate change exists, never mind actually doing anything at a scale required to make a difference.”

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
Young believes architects and designers have an important role to communicate the planetary-scale visions of systemic

Non-democratic countries are the ones making the biggest strides, Young claimed.

“The nations that have made substantial moves in that direction are single-government nations,” he said.

“China has taken offline thousands of coal-burning power stations across the last decade and has built the world’s largest wind farms, the world’s largest solar field, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. To build that dam, it displaced millions of people, but it could do that.”

“I’m not advocating for a move towards dictatorship, but the current political system is not fit for purpose in the context of global collaboration needed for climate change.”

Another non-democratic country displaying enormous ambition when it comes to projects touted as ways of reducing emissions is Saudi Arabia.

Its project The Line, currently being constructed in the desert, is planned as a renewables-powered, 170-kilometre-long linear city for nine-million people.

Young criticised The Line as “a very elaborate propaganda piece”.

“Someone drew a line on the page and they saw the power of the headline-generating machine,” he said. “They are not manufacturing a city, but manufacturing an image of a city.”

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
Planet City could house 10 billion people in a single metropolis

“The architects working on The Line are great examples of the mercenary nature of the discipline, which has for a long time been purely in the service of those with money and power,” he added.

Nevertheless, he suggested that the mega-project provokes an important discussion about which nations around the world have the sufficient ambition and capacity to do something at a scale that matches the threat of climate change.

“The Line is an intriguing example of the scale of construction that is required to deal with some of the problem,” he said.

“It’s a shame that the energy is focused on the ridiculous image of the city, but it’s a useful conversation point nonetheless.”

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
The city is entirely powered by solar and wind

Young’s work has previously explored the idea of a built-from-scratch, low-emission mega-city.

The Great Endeavour is being shown at NGV as part of Young’s solo exhibition Planetary Redesign, which also features his short film Planet City along with photography and costumes made in collaboration with costume designer Ane Crabtree.

First commissioned for the 2020 NGV Triennial, Planet City is a short animation that imagines a new city housing the entire human population.

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
The food system and agriculture infrastructure are already achievable with current technology

Young has continued to expand the Planet City idea with further research, particularly on the technology that could help the city be self-sustainable, such as food systems and agriculture infrastructure.

For instance, he imagines a canal system in the city feeding a massive network of vertical farms.

“Although the work I do is often described as science-fiction, it is all based on the technology in the present moment – there isn’t any imaginary technology in there, unlike a lot of Hollywood science-fiction,” Young said.

“My job as a world-builder is identifying the technology at the moment and turning up the volume,” he added.

“My projects are really just science illustrators. All I’m doing is taking these technologies which have the potential to engage and deal with the problem, such as the scale of the climate crisis.”

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
Costumes made for Planet City by Ane Crabtree are also featured in the exhibition. Photo by Sean Fennessy

Despite his pessimism about politics, Young believes architects and designers still have an important role to play today to communicate viable and hopeful planetary-scale visions of systemic change to the public.

“We need to tell stories about what the future might look like as opposed to the technical solutions that architects and designers typically work through,” he argued.

“We need to work with drama and emotion to get people on board with these changes.”

“At the same time, we need to frame those changes – both the language we use and design images we create – in such a way that it doesn’t look like it’s just pure sacrifice.”

In The Great Endeavour, for example, Young tried to portray the extraordinary enterprise of building giant energy-generating machines not as an act of sacrifice but as an act of celebration of planetary collaboration.

“Architects and designers occupy this really powerful place between culture and technology,” he said.

“We need to use the same language that we used around the moon landing to rally the entire generation around this idea.”

The images are courtesy of Liam Young unless otherwise stated.

Liam Young: Planetary Redesign is on show until 11 February 2024 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Fed Square, Melbourne, Australia. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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"People living with disabilities are done waiting for accessible designs"

{Access}ories by Landor & Fitch

Designers and brands must get thinking now about the simple, immediate changes that can make their products more accessible to people living with disabilities, writes Luc Speisser.

We cannot continue to unintentionally exclude the one-billion people living on this planet who are experiencing some form of disability.

This gigantic minority is so often let down by design. It’s not enough to conceive truly inclusive products from the start, a process that normally takes two to five years, if not more. All of us – businesses, brands, designers – need to find solutions today. Because people living with disabilities are done waiting for accessible designs.

All of us – businesses, brands, designers – need to find solutions today

There is a lot that can be done to make brands and products more accessible right now.

Small shifts make a huge difference, and every element contributes to the accessibility of a product or a brand. From how it looks, to how it talks, feels, sounds, speaks and reads, every sensory element is an opportunity.

If you don’t know where to start, a good first question is: can colour improve someone’s experience? British bank Barclays, for example, changed the colour of its digital touchpoints to cyan from light blue, greatly improving its visibility.

Or perhaps it can be the incorporation of additional colours into a palette to aid legibility while also enhancing the overall visual impact of the brand. Accessibility upgrades like these are easy thanks to a number of online resources like Color Safe, Colorable, and Contrast Grid, and are a great starting point for any accessible design journey.

This leads nicely to another question: how accessible is your verbal brand? Typographic treatment can be on-brand while also improving legibility. This could be adjustments to scale, kerning and capitalisation. Again, there are plenty of resources are out there to support design choices, such as OpenDyslexic and Focus Ex.

Readability can also be improved beyond typographic style. Proctor & Gamble’s Herbal Essences hair-care brand is a great illustration of smart design thinking. By embedding tactile indentations into the packaging, the brand is immediately more accessible to people with partial sight.

Of course, these solutions might already be on the radar of plenty in the design community, but repetition and democratisation can’t hurt. What’s more, we can go much further.

It is critical to recruit a representative group of the people you want to design for

To avoid bad design in general, and even more so when it comes to people living with disabilities, it is critical to recruit a representative group of the people you want to design for. And, in fact, not design for them but design with them. This is the best and fastest way to check if you are on the right track.

Adopt a one-size-fits-one approach. It takes a two-minute discussion with even a small group of people living with accessibility needs to understand that one-size-fits-all does not work. There are too many different and complex conditions and challenges to cover.

Investing massively to find the perfect product that works for everyone and then mass-producing it could take an eternity and might never work. So why not embrace the ever-improving possibilities offered by online customisation, 3D printing or other emerging technologies?

Forget about launching the perfect solution. Launch and wholeheartedly engage into an iterative process with continuous opportunities to improve and refine. Use your digital platform to consistently collect stats and data to see what people opt for. The one-size-fits-one model makes change super easy, as you are not restrained by a production line that has already been built.

Also, accept the idea that nobody can do it alone and that embracing partnership is not a weakness, but a strength.
Strive for no compromise. Very often when it comes to people living with disabilities, industries have come up with functional products with no regard to aesthetics. Why should accessible design just be functional but not desirable and affordable?

Some brands already understand this and have been leading the charge on accessibility for years, whether that be tackling language barriers, dexterity challenges, or accessible healthcare. This year’s Cannes Lions Festival saw great examples of brands realising the importance of accessible design, with nominees shining through in the innovation category.

For designers, it has to become a natural reflex

Giants like Google are using augmented reality to break down communication barriers, bringing technologies like transcription and translation to our line of sight, making connections easier. Meanwhile, the Cannes Lions-winning Ecoclic box from laundry brand Ariel combines innovation and sustainability. The box is fully recyclable, FSC-certified and made from recycled fibres. It is inclusive and intuitive for adults thanks to its two-button ergonomic opening system. Combined with the clear opening instructions, the box is comfortable to open for all adults – including those with dexterity, visual and cognitive impairments.

Then there was our shortlisted {Access}ories project – a first-of-its-kind accessible oral-care product, comprising bespoke 3D-printed toothbrush add-ons for people with dexterity challenges. The {Access}ories digital platform allows users to personalise their toothbrush handles, providing an efficient but also equally desirable and affordable solution to a daily but often-unseen barrier.

Making the world a more accessible place, right now, is possible. For businesses and brands, it is an absolute imperative but also a substantial source of additional revenue. For designers, it has to become a natural reflex; the very foundation of our approach. Let us end with Verna Myers‘ great words: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” So, let’s all dance together.

Luc Speisser is global chief innovation officer at Landor & Fitch.

The photo, showing {Access}ories, is by Si Cox.

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If you enjoy reading Dezeen’s interviews, opinions and features, subscribe to Dezeen In Depth. Sent on the last Friday of each month, this newsletter provides a single place to read about the design and architecture stories behind the headlines.

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